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Achieving racial justice one note at a time: How resourcing influences grand challenges - 10 Apr 2024

The House of Innovation hosted a research seminar by Professor Scott Sonenshein who was visiting us from Rice University.

Paper title and abstract

Achieving racial justice one note at a time: How resourcing influences grand challenges

Abstract: Grand challenges are complex problems with unknown solutions and critical social impacts. Given their enormous scope, scholars propose that slack resources are essential for firms to engage with grand challenges, especially if they fall outside their core strategy. Yet, other research suggests that limited resources help advance grand challenges by stimulating the creativity needed to address difficult problems. In this presentation, I will share recent data from a three-year inductive field study of a major North American symphonic orchestra that addressed the grand challenge of racial justice. Using extensive interview, archival, and observational data, I explain how a firm not focused on grand challenges can repurpose existing resources to become deeply enmeshed with a grand challenge. I unpack a process model by interacting the data with resourcing theory. The model proposes that firms first use resource loosening to dislodge existing resources from their current uses, which then get redirected based on environmental influences (resource sparking). Firms then utilize two forms of resourcing – technology resourcing and market resourcing – that lead to changes in local and industry practices to address a grand challenge. The model theorizes that addressing a grand challenge is not simply explainable by the allocated resources but rather by how those resources are put into practice.

About Scott Sonenshein

Scott Sonenshein is the Henry Gardiner Symonds Professor of Management at the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University and area head of the Organizational Behavior group. He received his PhD in Management and Organizations from the University of Michigan and his M.Phil. in Management Studies from the University of Cambridge. His research employs field methodologies (primarily involving qualitative data) to explain change processes and mechanisms, including personal change, organizational and strategic change, and social change. He is a former Associate Editor at the Academy of Management Journal. His two bestselling books, Stretch and Joy at Work (co-authored with Marie Kondo), have been translated into over twenty languages. He has also written for the New York Times, Time Magazine, Fast Company, and Harvard Business Review.

House of Innovation Development Entrepreneurship Equality Innovation Management Strategy Lunch seminar Research seminar